Water demand to drastically increase

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Loide Jason

Ongwediva-Demand for water in Namibia is set to increase drastically in the years to come, according to the draft National Development Plan (NDP5) of 2017/18 to 2021/22 released recently.

In 2015 the demand for water was estimated at about 334 million cubic metres per year and this demand is projected to reach 583 million cubic metres by 2025 and 771 million cubic metres per year by 2030.

The report says that irrigation accounts for about 60 percent of water consumption and given the expected agricultural expansion it is expected to remain the main consumer over the next ten years.

“Given the trend of migration, urban domestic water demand is estimated to increase too and come second after irrigation by 2030,” says the report.

The report says the government will have to upgrade existing water infrastructure and maintain the current infrastructure such as Calueque-Oshakati and Etaka Canal Water Supply, construct large earth dams for water harvesting for rural areas and refurbish boreholes to satisfy the demand for water.

The government will further explore the use of innovative technologies to recycle waste water, mainly in the three major cities of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Windhoek.
According to the report, the government will construct new bulk water supply infrastructure and a desalination plant to supply water to the central coast.

It will further improve management of existing water sources, which includes reducing losses, increasing water savings, addressing water quality and pollution control, upgrading and maintenance of the water resources data collection networks and developing forecasting and early warning systems.

It will further include the establishment of the water regulation authority to protect and restore water related ecosystems including mountains, forests, rivers and aquifers.
At basin level the strategy will strengthen basin management committees and implement water resource plans for all 12 water basins.

The report further indicated that the government will enhance transboundary water cooperation which aims at ensuring equitable and reasonable access and allocation to transboundary shared water sources by securing for Namibia a shared allocation and developing a water allocation strategy by 2018 with other riparian states.

The report lists that the main challenges are that Namibia’s four perennial rivers are located at the borders with neighbouring countries and form part of shared water courses, which make it difficult for Namibia to fully access the water courses for the country’s use.

Moreover, due to erratic rainfall river flows in the country‘s interior are irregular and unreliable.

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